showtime

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

they coaxed her shower off the days of stink
she did as they asked,a friendly suggestion to rid herself
dirt and shame down the drain

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

toweling off in front of the toilet
away from the long bathroom mirror, looking away from the glass at the floor
getting all her clothes on fast

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

she sees her shape faintly in peripheral vision
no glasses on as she brushes her teeth, watching water and paste run in spirals
puts on deodorant gazing at the ceiling

now to her hair
who cares if it is styled, she plans to stay in
she puts her chin down and turns on the dryer
don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

she forces herself to think of other things
her love for green growing like
limes, Luna moths, fiddlehead ferns and granny smith apples

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do —

she catches her own eye in the reflection
in an instant, IT assesses her coldly
“fatter gut I see, what garbage did you put in your mouth today? that exercise won’t cover THAT
still wrinkles and scars, repulsive
never really a beauty, eh? face yourself, face the truth”

she looks away
the clean body now feels the shame of the unclean, damaged, broken
what’s the point? why spend the energy on this task?
to give IT a stage on which to shout at her?

when all she can chant in defense is
don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it
weakly from the balcony